Texas county extends mask order amid record high COVID-19 cases

Texas’ Harris County, where the fourth largest US city of Houston is located, has extended the mask order in all businesses for two more months as the state witnessed a record high of nearly 7,000 new COVID-19 cases

According to Texas Health and Human Services, as of Tuesday there have been 159,986 confirmed

COVID-19 cases in the state, 6,975 more cases than that of Monday, while the death toll reached 2,424, reports Xinhua news agency.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Tuesday extend the mask order, which originally took place 10 days ago, until August 26.

The order requires businesses to mandate customers and employees to wear face coverings or masks.

The Harris County commissioners voted and approved the extension.

According to the order, businesses that fail to develop, post, and implement the health and safety policy are subject to a fine of up to $1,000 for each violation.

Hidalgo herself is under self-quarantine after a member of her office tested positive for COVID-19. S

he has been discussing with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and fighting for the authority to issue another stay-at-home order after local officials lifted the previous one.

“The only thing we know works is a stay-at-home order, and anything short of that is a gamble on our own people,” local TV station ABC 13 quoted Hidalgo as saying.

On Tuesday, the total reported COVID-19 cases surpassed 30,000 cases with the fatality of 376 in Harris County. The county remains with the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in Texas.

Meanwhile, Dallas County reported a record 20 deaths and 601 additional coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the fifth straight day the number of infections set a new one-day high.

Four victims of Tuesday’s reported deaths lived in long-term care facilities, local media reported.

The latest numbers raise the county’s total confirmed cases to over 20,000, or 8.1 for every 1,000 residents.

More than half of the county’s cases in June are among adults aged 18 to 39, officials said.